Cleansing the PNP organization, a perennial concern

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After the long wait, finally, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed the new Philippine National Police chief after waves of corruption issues plagued and is still plaguing the organization.

According to the President, he took time to find a new chief because the organization has been infected with corruption virus ranging from procurement to recycling of confiscated drugs, which involve personnel and top officials of the organization.

Cleansing within the PNP structure has long been overdue, but the virus transcends from one generation to the other, hence issues continue to linger which resulted to distrust and mistrust among taxpayers and even within the police organization.

Added to that is a local issue which involve police officers and personnel forming their own group in the name of cleansing communities tagged with drugs. But these corrupt PNP personnel and officials had a modus of using rebel returnees as assets fed with misleading information to hunt their targets. However, money rewards for the campaign were manipulated to have remained in the pockets of those officials.

The ploy was, instead of warning suspected drug peddlers and users, these assets approach the suspects and ask money with the assurance of clearing their names from the list. Worse, the money collected are spent inside cockpits in various towns and of course, civilian populace see those corrupt police putting bets in their police uniforms.

The issue on ‘Ninja’ cops which allegedly involved former PNP Chief Oscar Abayalde exposed the rotten system inside PNP, an issue considered historic and perennial, involve the whole organization. While local issues involving corrupt cop is just in the sidelights because their hapless victims opt to remain silent because they too are guilty as charged.

While everyone in the rank vowed to stay clean and truthful to the people, shadows of corruption remain on their back. With the recent appointment of Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa did not come as easy as ABC, as Duterte publicly announced, he need to have a long talk with the new chief, saying he does not want “another palpak” in the discharge of duties of the new chief.

Gamboa who roots from Mindanao and who once served Davao region, knows the template of the President and his anti-corruption campaign. He also knows personally and organizationally Duterte as his former Mayor, and, now his commander-in-chief. Hence, he is presumed to understand what was the long talk all about.

Truth to that, he recently relieved two top officials from Visayas for playing golf during weekdays. If the recent execution was meant for an impression that he means business, then let that business of cleansing continue not just among golf-playing cops but all corrupt men in uniform.

Time might be short for Gamboa to make real his commitment to cleanse the PNP because he is scheduled to retire on August in time for his birthday, unless Duterte orders his extension.

Eight months is too short for a working and performing public official, but it is too long for those who cannot work the order out. While Gamboa is often seen with a poignant smile, the taxpayers have yet to see his order against erring and corrupt cops, that would mean an eye for an eye.

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